Monday, June 01, 2009

At least a small profit

I travelled south to where I grew up last Friday to go to a kind of high school reunion. My sister and her family were going to be out of town so I would stay at their house but didn't have any particular scheduled time to be there.

So, I made a detour and left my bags in a locker at the train station and went to the casino in Malmö (one of the four legal casinos in Sweden) to play poker.

I've been there quite a few times especially this last year now and know how it works and the style of play. 20/20 (Swedish crowns, say US$2.5) blinds on NL Texas and recently they changed it so you can buy in max 200 big blinds instead of 100.

I get seated right away at a newly started table and recognize a few regulars in the room. At my table, a loose Danish "semi-pro". Several bought in short, 1100, and I don't want to risk too much, I buy in for 1500.

I'm not going to stay all night, I have to take a late connecting train onwards. I play conservatively but hope to hit my draws. The chips in play are 20, 100 and 1000 so a raise is often to 120 or above instead of 4 BB to 80 and such, like you would see online. Twenties are scarcer than hundreds, like at the Vegas $1/$2 tables where the $5s are what you play and the ones are change.

Fold, limp, fold, limp, raise, fold to big reraise. I get 44 and call a small raise, hoping to get a set. And yes, a 4 on the flop, no immediate draws. A shortstack goes all in with a bit more than 300 and I'm the only one still in, I call. I crack his KK.

QK spades, call a raise preflop and the flop is QKx, all clubs. Hmm. Guy to the right goes all in with 3000+. I decide that this is where I double up or bust in this loose-passive room. I call with my remaining 800 with the assumption that the guy to the left will fold his flush draw, which he does. Flip the cards, he has Q4, no clubs. 4 on the turn. Here, live, there must be fewer suckouts than online because there is NO 4 on the river and I get a nice pot. I leave one orbit later, up 500 gross (I had two beers, but the beer money is in another money clip).

I later see in a Swedish poker forum that one guy was there Friday and switch tables because at his table there were "six tight players and two fishes". I wonder if he was the guy to my right with Q4, he seems like the type. I also wonder if I was classed as a tight one or a fish. :-)

When I get home Sunday evening, I haven't played online for four whole days (jonesing!) so I open a €0.25/0.5 and intend to leave if and when I am up, no matter how much. €1 is enough.

KK, flop Q and I call opponent's irregular (but large) bets down all the way to the river all in. They hold up to his AQo, there was no funny business with a weird two pair Q7 or a set of rags. Out up €36.

Maybe I will repeat my casino visit next Friday, I'm going southwards again. And this summer I will repeat what I did last summer, stay in town at hotel or hostel and play several nights.

Sidenote: WSOP has started. A play money Holdem client in Facebook, Zynga, have a promotion. Win a tournament of certain ones run June 8-22 and you get entered into a draw where 18 randomly selected tournament winners will play a final tournament June 30. Up for grabs is two WSOP Main Event packages. Here's the weird part: It's open to the whole world, just meet the age limit (21 to play in USA). The winners are announced July 1. Main Event starts July 3. A bit of a tight squeeze... Also, in addition to the buyin you get travel (good luck arranging that with two days' notice) and three hotel nights at Rio. But, but, but, what if you're still in after day 2? Are you on your own then? Oh, and you get VIP Lounge and backstage passes. Uh-huh, just you and a few thousand other online qualifiers will get that same exclusive treatment. Having once won a WSOP Main Event package and having been in Vegas I can just say; YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!

The reunion
I showed up at the auditorum of my old high school and was greeted by a woman I then realized was the current principal. I introduced myself with name and graduation year, 1989. "Oh, great that you youngsters come too." Uh oh.

Inside, I see name lists of those who accepted the invitation, which this year was those who graduated in a year ending with 4 or 9 (i.e. it's a multiple-of-five anniversary). I knew that, that was what the invitation said. What it didn't say was that the invitation went out to only "20 years and up". Some ceremonies and stuff and at one time those from each year stood up. Quite a few 50 years anniversarians stood up. There were a handful of 1979 and 1984. I was the only one there from 1989... Toootally the wrong intended audience. I thought this was going to be more of a class reunion opportunity, not a historical society.

In the evening there was a dinner, and there two girls from my class showed up (the meeting in the auditorium wasn't "mandatory"), and one's parents were there (graduated in 1959 from the same school, and were high school sweethearts). From my year in total, seven had accepted the invitation but I don't think all showed up. Some gossip, some eating and drinking and an early exit. Sure, let's do this again in twenty years.